JOHN LEWIS has announced an “overwhelming response” to job positions at its new York store after almost 2,000 people applied for 300 vacancies.

The department store chain, which is opening its 41st shop on the Vangarde development at Monks Cross, said it has been extremely impressed with the high calibre of applicants from the York area.

With more than 1,700 applications received, about six people applied for every position available.

Rebekah Hawley, personnel growth manager at John Lewis, said: “It is essential that we employ a strong team of partners and we’ve been extremely impressed with the calibre of candidates who have applied for positions at our shop in York.

“Those who are successful will benefit from John Lewis’ unique partnership structure, meaning they will all be co-owners of the business and receive a host of benefits.”

Although an exact opening date has yet to be revealed, the store will open sometime in the spring and excitement is said to be building among the already recruited staff.

Robert Garnish, the new branch manager at John Lewis York, who grew up in Wakefield, and whose parents live in Easingwold, said he was delighted to be opening his first John Lewis on “home soil”.

He said: “It’s fantastic to be offering a significant number of new jobs to people in the York area.

“I’d really like to reiterate that the calibre of applicants has been brilliant and we are really excited about the opportunity that gives us.

“We’ve had interest in jobs right across the board, even in some of the slightly more unusual roles like personal stylist, and the home design service.

“Having been a partner with the John Lewis Partnership for more than 13 years myself, I have experienced first-hand the high levels of job satisfaction that a career in retail can offer and I’m very much looking to working with my new team in the run-up to opening day.”

Mr Garnish said that more than 90 per cent of the new John Lewis team will be new recruits from the local area.

Of the 24 section managers, 11 are external appointments, and at least five of the 13 internal recruits are returning to the York area having previously lived or studied here.

Mr Garnish said: “There is going to be a real local flavour to this store, right across all levels.”